How to Clean up Your Garden in the Fall

person using a rake to clean yard

Fall clean-up is essential to preserve the look and health of your garden. It prevents damage in the winter and helps plants thrive once spring arrives. Here’s what you need to know about how to clean up your yard in the fall.

Tools and Supplies

Before you begin, make sure you have these basic tools on hand to clean up your garden:

  • Leaf rake
  • Dethatching rake
  • Lawn aerator (optional)
  • Soil test kit
  • Fertilizer
  • Fertilizer spreader
  • Grass seed
  • Garden gloves
  • Pruners or loppers (optional)
  • Garden rake
  • Material for enriching your garden beds

Steps to Take for Fall Garden Clean-up

Tidying up your yard once the growing season ends doesn’t necessarily mean hacking everything down. Clean up your garden the right way in the fall, and you’ll have less work to do come spring. Here’s what we recommend:

  • Remove leaf litter from the lawn: If your yard is buried in leaves, remove most of them so light and air can reach the grass. It’s okay to leave some leaf litter behind to give pollinators a place to nestle over the winter.
  • Dethatch and possibly aerate the lawn: Remove the yellowish-brown thatch from your grass in early fall. If the soil is also compacted, aerate it as well.
  • Fertilize the lawn: Early autumn is the best time to fertilize. You may want to test the pH of your soil to see if it’s lacking in nutrients before adding fertilizer.
  • Overseed the lawn: Lightly spread grass seed across the entire lawn using a fertilizer spreader. If there are any dead spots, apply extra seeds there.
  • Pull weeds and dead annuals: Wear gloves to protect your hands. Shred healthy plant material and add it to your compost pile. Dispose of any diseased or mildewed foliage to prevent contaminating your compost.
  • Consider pruning bushes and other perennials: Some plants benefit from pruning in late summer or early fall, while others fare better with springtime pruning. If you’re not sure, it may be best to wait until spring.
  • Rake the garden beds: Wait to do this step until after you’ve completed any pruning. That way, you don’t have to tidy up the beds twice. Watch out for drip irrigation systems and sprinkler heads while raking and doing general clean-up.
  • Enrich your garden beds: This can take numerous forms, including adding organic mulch, compost, leaf litter, or a cover crop. The purpose is to add nutrients for microorganisms to break down throughout the winter. As a result, the soil will be fertile and ready for planting next spring.
  • Clean your tools: Drain the gas from your lawnmower, and clean, sand, and oil your garden tools before storing them for winter. Also, detach your garden hoses, drain out the water, and store them in the shed or garage.

Let Us Clean Up Your Yard This Fall

At The Grounds Guys®, our landscaping and lawn care services include fall clean-up. We’ll give your yard the care and attention it deserves with no hassle on your part. We have years of experience and a reputation for excellence to back us up. Contact us today for a free job estimate.

Did you know? The Grounds Guys is a Neighbourly company. Learn more about Neighbourly’s community of home service experts at